Junior Speed Chess: Record Comeback Maghsoodloo vs. Praggnanandhaa

Junior Speed Chess: Record Comeback Maghsoodloo vs. Praggnanandhaa

| 29 | Chess Event Coverage

Overcoming both a 1-7 deficit and internet disconnections, GM Parham Maghsoodloo defeated GM Praggnanandhaa R. on Monday in their round-of-16 match of the Junior Speed Chess Championship presented by ChessKid.

The next match in the championship is GM Amin Tabatabaei vs. GM Anton Smirnov on Tuesday, July 6, at 4 a.m. Pacific / 13:00 Central Europe.

The live broadcast of the match.

Winning from a six-point deficit is the biggest comeback ever in all Speed Chess matches held over the years on Also marred with connection problems, Maghsoodloo (@Parhamov on was struggling on and off the board in the first half of the match during the whole 5|1 segment and the first 3|1 game.

After that horrible start, the Iranian grandmaster won five games in a row and then turned the score into a much more bearable 6-7. Suddenly, anything was possible.

At the end of the 3|1 portion, Praggnanandhaa (@rpragchess) was still leading by a point but with a very strong performance in the bullet (scoring 8-3 there), Maghsoodloo clinched the victory.

After a delayed start, Maghsoodloo's connection (and his play, because of it) continued to remain unstable during the first game, which saw a beautiful finish by Pragg:

Maghsoodloo was down 1-5 but in a promising position when his connection dropped again. This time, he flagged because of it. 

The match had to be interrupted for about 25 minutes before his connection was stable again. Meanwhile, Praggnanandhaa graciously declined to get the extra forfeit point that can be claimed when the opponent disconnects for over 10 minutes. He did get another free point when Maghsoodloo lost another game to a disconnection.

By now, just giving Praggnanandhaa a forfeit match victory was a serious option, but the Indian teenager has to be applauded for bearing with the situation and wanting to play.

He wasn't rewarded for his sportsmanship, though. Actually, it was from this point that the match went downhill for him while Maghsoodloo's internet was finally all good again.

A key game was the fourth 3|1 where Praggnanandhaa was completely winning but went on to lose completely unnecessarily:

Every online chess player knows the feeling: sometimes the light just goes out and you don't see anything anymore. That should be the moment when you stop clicking aimlessly and go to bed, but Pragg was involved in an important match, and then things like this started to happen: 

"I don't know what went wrong," said Praggnanandhaa. "I couldn't really calculate; I couldn't think after the first 3|1 game. I think it was mainly psychologically."

"First of all, I'd like to congratulate Pragg because he became stronger since our previous match," Maghsoodloo started the interview. "He was really strong, and I was under big pressure."

He was referring to last year's Junior Speed Chess Championship when the two players also met in the round of 16. Back then, Maghsoodloo was the one building a big lead at the start (7.5-1.5) and Praggnanandhaa coming back, but not enough to overtake his opponent.

Praggnanandhaa earned $212.96 based on win percentage; Maghsoodloo won $500 for the victory plus $287.04 on percentage, totaling $787.04. He moves on to the quarterfinals, where he will play the winner of the match GM Jeffery Xiong vs. IM Denis Lazavik that will be played on Sunday, July 11, at 6 a.m. Pacific / 15:00 Central Europe.

All games

Junior Speed Chess Championship results
The 2021 Junior Speed Chess Championship is an online competition for top junior players. The qualifiers for the event were held June 7-21, while the main event runs July 1-August 8. Players battle for their shares of a total prize fund of $35,000 and a spot in the Speed Chess Championship later this year. More info here; live games here

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